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Energy-Related Initiatives


As energy-saving technologies have evolved, so has UMBC. Years before “going green” and “climate change” were mainstream issues, Facilities Management was transforming the campus by leveraging technology to conserve energy and reduce the University’s impact on the environment.

Over the last ten years UMBC has conserved energy by:

retrofitting the Central Plant with high-efficiency boilers, chillers, and hot water pumps

installing a thermal energy storage system at the Central Plant. Charging the tank at night (making and storing over 1.6 million gallons of chilled water) reduces the load on the electric grid and power plants during peak daytime hours.

converting air distribution systems from constant air volume to energy-efficient variable air volume (VAV) systems.

Upgrading heating/cooling systems for student housing by replacing stand-alone units with an efficient central Satellite Plant utilizing high-efficiency boilers and chillers

installing process chilled-water loops for equipment (condensers, laser labs, etc.) which had been cooled by city water

upgrading pneumatic controls with Direct Digital Controls tied to a Building Automation System with graphical user interface to improve set point control and occupancy scheduling

upgrading exterior lighting for roadways, walkways, and parking lots to high-efficiency metal halide lamps.

upgrading interior lighting from T12 bulbs to more efficient T8 and T5 lamps and ballasts.

upgrading bulbs in most Exit signs to LEDs

replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps

installing reduced-flow toilets, urinals, faucets, and shower heads in all new construction and renovations


Facilities Management has continued to take a lead role in UMBC’s sustainability efforts. Summarized below are UMBC’s ongoing energy-related initiatives.

Fleet Vehicles – Facilities Management fleet includes electric vehicles and compressed natural gas vehicles to perform many maintenance tasks around campus, reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Procurement – By combining the buying power of several University System of Maryland (USM) institutions, UMBC strategically purchases natural gas and electricity at favorable rates and reduced pricing volatility.

Peak Demand Response – By implementing strategic measures to reduce electrical load when the electric grid is stressed by high demand, UMBC increases the reliability of the region’s distribution network and qualifies for energy rebates.

LEED Construction – All new construction will be a minimum of LEED Silver or equivalent. The Patapsco Hall Addition and Performing Arts and Humanities received LEED Gold Certification.

Energy Star Equipment – The campus standard is to buy Energy Star products (computers, appliances, lighting, etc.) when possible.

Renewable Energy – In May 2008, UMBC began getting 20% of its electricity from renewable sources, primarily Maryland’s Conowingo Hydroelectric Plant. Since then, UMBC has remained committed to getting 20% of its electricity from renewable sources. UMBC now gets most of its renewable energy from regional wind and solar projects.

Clean Horizons – UMBC was involved in the State’s collaborative process for “Generating Clean Horizons,” a first-of-its-kind initiative to spur large-scale renewable projects in/near Maryland. As a result of a competitive bid, the awarded projects include land-based wind and solar PV. Additional projects, such as energy from poultry litter and off-shore wind are under consideration. Renewable energy production from Clean Horizons began in 2011 and is ramping toward the target production. Ultimately, 20% of all electricity used by Maryland agencies and universities will come from the Clean Horizons projects. UMBC is buying this clean/green energy via Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), which include the electricity commodity and the associated Renewable Energy Credits (REC).By making a long-term commitment to buy Clean Horizons renewable energy, UMBC essentially co-sponsored the development of several large-scale projects. UMBC’s renewable energy is being produced where it is most physically suitable and economically viable, further enhancing the triple bottom line of social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

On site Solar – UMBC has solar bus stops on the main campus and a 9 kW solar array on the roof of the Clean Energy Technology Incubator (CETI) building at bwtech @ UMBC South. Other solar projects are being considered for the main campus (such as the Warehouse roof or Library roof) for practical benefits and/or demonstration purposes.

Set Point Standards – Space temperature set points were lowered in the heating season (70o F) and raised during the cooling season (76o F).

Occupancy Scheduling – HVAC equipment on/off times were adjusted to more closely match the actual occupancy. Special events are scheduled in buildings that are already on whenever possible.

Night Setback – When in unoccupied mode, energy-saving space temperature set points are implemented (60o F in the heating season and 85o F in the cooling season).

Central Plant Boilers – Upgraded two primary boilers with high-efficiency boilers including stack economizers.

Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) – EPC is a means for implementing energy-saving projects that essentially pay for themselves over time via the associated energy savings. An array of Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) have been evaluated for feasibility and cost-effectiveness. An ongoing ECM is called Chilled Water Optimization. Other cost-effective ECMs in the works include: interior lighting upgrades, LED lighting for parking garages, irrigation improvements, and control upgrades.

Chilled Water Optimization – Ongoing project to significantly improve the efficiency of the Central Plant and cooling for most of the campus. This project will reduce annual energy usage by 5,700,000 kWh and reduce annual GHG emissions by 3,100 MT eCO2. Compared to UMBC’s baseline year of 2007, this is a 7% reduction in electricity and 3.5% reduction in carbon footprint.

Soda Machines – New vending contract required Energy Star soda machines. Occupancy sensors are used to cycle refrigeration compressor off during unoccupied hours.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations – UMBC is home to 18 charging stations. These Level 2 (240 VAC, 30 Amp) are free for use by students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Please visit the Transportation tab on the Sustainability Retriever Mapping Application for locations.